Tragedy struck in Bermuda aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s 4300-passenger Breakaway when one crewmember was killed and three others were seriously injured during a routine lifeboat drill. The lifeboat accident occurred when the cruise ship departed from New York and had just arrived in Bermuda, where it was conducting its weekly safety and training drill. A tethering line failed, dropping the lifeboat off the side of the ship. The four crewmembers were rushed to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, where one of them, a 41-year-old male from the Philippines, died.

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The ship then departed from Bermuda on schedule to complete the rest of the cruise.

Our cruise ship accident law firm in Miami expresses its sincere condolences to the family, friends, fellow crewmembers, and NCL for their loss as well as wishing the survivors a swift and complete recovery.  

Crewmember accident and injury claims are subject to unique laws that are very different than those that apply to injured passengers.  Injured crewmembers (employees of the cruise ship) are governed by a federal law called the Jones Act.  

The Jones Act protects injured seamen, crew members, and others employed by the cruise lines who are injured in the course and scope of their employment, giving them the right to sue the cruise line for personal injury damages. The Jones Act is also very different than the worker’s compensation laws that protect employees who are injured onshore in traditional jobs, like those at a grocery store, factory, or hospital.  

For example, cruise line crewmembers cannot simply file workers’ compensation claims if they are injured.  Rather, they must make their claims according to the strict guidelines of the Jones Act, which is based under Federal maritime law.

The first inquiry must determine if the injured crew member actually qualifies to make a Jones Act claim.  The criteria require that the employee work at least 30% of his or her time aboard the cruise ship–rather than in port, in an office or supply warehouse.  

Who has the right to file a claim is hotly contested by the cruise lines and their claims adjusters and lawyers.  We recommend that injured crewmembers consult as soon as possible with an experienced crew member injury attorney–and one well versed in the Jones Act–in order to protect their legal rights.

The Jones Act further requires that negligence be proved–in other words, that the crewmember’s injury was caused by the cruise line’s actions or failure to provide a reasonably safe place or situation for their employees.

Fortunately for injured crewmembers, proving the cruise ship’s negligence under the Jones Act is far less complicated than in a case involving an injured passenger. Furthermore, injured crewmembers need prove only that the cruise line is to some degree at fault for the employee’s injury.  The degree of fault can be as little as 1% for the injured employee still to be entitled to receive compensation.

Our Miami crewmember claims lawyers are experienced in investigating crewmember accident claims and proving the negligence of the cruise lines in accidents that involve serious injuries to their crewmembers–as well as in trying other cases of assault, battery, and sexual assault.

The most common crewmember incidents involve slip, trips, and falls on wet or greasy decks, steps, or other areas of the ship that are not properly cleaned, inspected, repaired, or else insufficiently lit.  Cruise lines often will spend millions of dollars in the common areas of the ship–such as the atria, casinos, pools, waterslides, and other attractions–but little to no money keeping “crew-only” areas safe.

If you are injured aboard a cruise ship while working under contract with any cruise line–such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Celebrity, Disney, Holland America, Princess, MSC, Regent Seven Seas, Oceania, Azamara, Costa, or any other major cruise line–contact our office today and speak with an experienced maritime accident attorney.   

Our injured crewmember claims lawyers offer free initial confidential legal consultations via telephone at 1-866-597-4529 or (305) 441-0440, SKYPE, FaceTime, or email at [email protected].  We are ready to help.

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